Jenkins credits Office Pride’s system, leadership and corporate culture for his successful commercial cleaning franchise
Wally Jenkins has worked in several professional fields – executive non-profit management, small business and green energy among them. When he started considering buying his own commercial cleaning franchise four years ago, he knew he wanted to take the diverse skills he’d learned and combine them into a career that would allow him to build what he calls a business legacy. He knew he wanted to call the shots for a business that would have a lasting impact on his family, friends and community.
Wally was drawn to Office Pride because of the company culture, which he describes as overwhelming positive and supportive. His franchise launched in late 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pa., and was immediately successful. Wally is thrilled that he now has more control over his life. His wife, Laura, has been able to leave her job to fulfill a dream of being a full-time mom to grade school-aged daughters Lily and Kate.
Wally is ready to share some of his success. He recently became Office Pride’s Area Representative to the Pittsburgh area and is eager to help others build their own business legacies.
How did you get involved with Office Pride?
I guess the short answer is: I knew about Office Pride because I knew its founder, Todd Hopkins. We worked together right out of college. I knew about Todd’s strong work ethic and about how he’d developed Office Pride in such a positive way. I knew Todd had clearly established a winning team, and everybody wants to get involved with a winning team, including me.
What were you doing before you started Office Pride?
I graduated from the University of New Hampshire. I worked for several years in Indianapolis. That’s where I met Todd. We worked together for a college fraternity. I previously owned a residential painting franchise. I also was executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Pittsburgh, and I worked in the green energy sector for a period of time, too.
How long have you been a franchisee?
About three and half years.
Can you walk me through your decision-making process? Why did you decide to become an Office Pride franchisee when you had such a diverse skill set?
Frankly, I had a desire to bring something new to the Pittsburgh area specifically. I knew from owning a franchise previously that I liked many aspects of franchise ownership. If you follow the system, you’ll be successful. That isn’t just something I’ve been told, it’s something I’ve experienced. Even more so, I really liked the corporate culture of Office Pride. I thought it would translate well in a variety of different markets, including Pittsburgh.
What happened with your other franchise?
I was a franchisee with CertaPro painters of Indianapolis. I sold it to two partners, and they are now the largest CertaPro franchise in the country.
How many franchises do you own?
I own one unit, and recently became the area developer for Pittsburgh. As area developer I basically assist and support others who want to own their own Office Pride operations. I work with new and existing franchisees in this market. I’ve had success with my Office Pride franchise in this market. That was the first step. Now I’m ready to help others do the same thing.
How long did it take your Office Pride franchise to get off the ground?
Things took off pretty quickly. I now have about 35 part-time employees. We’ve done very well, and this year we’re really ready to take the next step
Did you have cleaning experience? How important is that?
I cleaned in the beginning. It doesn’t dominate my time at all anymore, but I do still clean from time to time. I actually like to clean.
What do you like best about being an Office Pride franchisee?
No. 1 is the positive company culture. It feels good to be a part of a company culture that’s doing things correctly. That’s true no matter where you are located, whether it’s in Indianapolis or Birmingham. I like having control over the growth of my own business. I dictate my schedule and the end results of my labor and my life skills – not somebody else’s.
How does the faith element of Office Pride make this franchise different for you?
I try to apply my faith to what I do every day. Prayer and my discernment is really part of how I operate the business, especially when I get into challenging situations. It helps me to recognize that every client, actually everything within the business, is a blessing. For me the faith component of Office Pride allows me to bring my faith to my work. I don’t have to separate it from family and church. God walks in the door with me at work. He’s not just there on Sunday or when I sit down at the dinner table.
What sets Office Pride apart?
When I was in franchising in the mid-90s it was a competitive, aggressive environment with a lot of ego. It was still a good experience in many ways, but I didn’t like that particular aspect of it. Well, Office Pride is different. When I go to an Office Pride retreat, it’s very difficult to tell who’s got the most successful franchise or who has the most experience. The short of it is that Office Pride has a very positive environment. No one has an attitude like, “I’m too important to learn.” Office Pride has an environment that’s friendly to continual learning and mutual support. There’s a real commitment to advancing the Office Pride brand. There’s also a recognition that we’re all into this together. It becomes apparent very quickly that people in this organization have each other’s back.
What is the opportunity to grow?
Well, we can talk about the Pittsburgh market as an example because the Office Pride model has been proven successful here. In the past three and a half years we’ve been recognized twice as Office Pride’s franchise of the year. It’s not just because of me, it’s because I’m following the Office Pride system. This is a great market for Office Pride. A lot of our competitors are mom-and-pop operations that either don’t have the interest or the ability to grow. Many don’t have the quality control of the customer service that Office Pride offers. So yes, there’s a lot of opportunity for good growth. I am hoping to grow this particular market substantially. Our market has a lot of opportunity. The economy here is steady. There’s a good base of customers who are always going to be here.
Who are your main customers?
We have a lot of small businesses. We have clients in the industrial sector. We also clean for retail, non-profits, churches, preschools and more. We really have a good mix. The great thing about Office Pride is that it allows you to get into business sectors that a lot of people don’t think about. I like it that we are focused on the commercial side. A lot of people try to do both residential and commercial, and I think that waters down operations.
What attracts people to Office Pride vs. your competitors?
No. 1 is professionalism. No. 2 is consistency of service and quality control systems. No. 3 is that we really try to employ people who are a good fit for this type of work. In any industry, any business, employees are a big part of the success or failure. Our model at Office Pride is to employ people who are looking for supplemental income, looking for additional jobs. There’s really a demand for this type of work among people looking for those additional jobs. We get a mix of employees, but most have a full-time job elsewhere. We are also finding people who have multiple part-time jobs. I just hired a young man who’s a shift manager for Pizza Hut. He works the evening shift and is successful there, but he needs additional income. He works for two hours in the morning, five days a week. That will add up for him over time.
Can you walk me through one of your typical days?
It’s a little different every day. I get up on time to get my kids ready and up to the bus stop. There was a period of time when my wife was working in the mornings, and I would get them off to the bus alone. She’s a stay-at-home mom now. I spend part of the morning doing office work. In the afternoons, I’m involved with existing clients or putting together proposals. I work with employees such as my operations managers in the evenings.
What’s the secret to your success?
So much of it is following the Office Pride model. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to follow the system. When you do face challenges, and you will, you have to have the tenacity to stick with it. This isn’t an extremely complicated business or industry, but Office Pride brings something extra – a more than 20-year track record of success in many diverse markets.
What kind of person makes a good franchisee?
Somebody that has a disciplined work ethic. Somebody who is tenacious and doesn’t give up easily. Somebody that has a good support system from family and friends. You need to be good with people. One of the biggest challenges is dealing with employees. There’s such a mix of people who apply for your positions. You have to focus on not only hiring the best people but having the discipline to train them.
Would you recommend an Office Pride franchise? Why?
I’d recommend Office Pride to someone who wants to build their own business legacy. I’d recommend it to someone with a strong commitment to running a business based on the values and qualities we’ve talked about so far in this interview.
Learn more about becoming an Office Pride franchise owner
Office Pride’s commitment to Christian principles and our 20-plus years of business savvy have helped us build a profitable franchise company with more than 100 franchisees across the country. We are expanding our reach even farther across the U.S. and Canada. In the $78 billion commercial cleaning industry, there’s still plenty of room to grow.
Would you like to learn more about Office Pride franchising opportunities? Take a look at our website’s research pages and then fill out the form at right to download our free franchise report or give us a call at 727-491-5125. We’d love to start a conversation!